Kate Masters

Kate Masters

Kate grew up in Northern Virginia before moving to the Midwest, earning her degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. She spent a year covering gun violence and public health for The Trace in Boston before joining The Frederick News-Post in Frederick County, Md. Before joining the Mercury in 2020, she covered state and county politics for the Bethesda Beat in Montgomery County, Md. She was named Virginia's outstanding young journalist for 2021 by the Virginia Press Association.

General Assembly passes protections for Virginians evicted from assisted living facilities

By: - March 8, 2022

It was just a few weeks before Christmas when Elizabeth Northen learned her partner, Nina, was being evicted from the assisted living facility where she had been staying for the last six months. Together for nearly 28 years, the pair had met on the green where Nina was an instructor with the Ladies Professional Golf […]

A storm passes over the Capitol. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury - Sept. 11, 2018)

Virginia legislators expand ‘safe haven’ laws allowing parents to give up infants

By: - March 7, 2022

With a final vote last week, the Virginia General Assembly passed a slew of bills that will give parents more time to abandon their newborn children at designated drop-off spots — and launch a state hotline to increase awareness of the measure.  All four bills introduced this year will expand Virginia’s safe haven laws, which […]

With Dem support, Senate panel advances bill targeting admission changes at governor’s schools

By: - March 3, 2022

Sen. Louise Lucas, president pro tempore of the Virginia Senate, has described her chamber as a “brick wall” against some of Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s biggest educational priorities, from charter schools to a proposed ban on what he’s described as “divisive concepts.”  This new Governor wants to be like Florida, but Florida doesn’t have a Democratic […]

The Virginia House of Delegates met Thursday to discuss redistricting, but didn't get far. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury - Aug. 30, 2018)

Virginia lawmakers give parents a say on sexually explicit classroom materials

By: - February 28, 2022

In a largely party-line vote, the Virginia House of Delegates approved legislation that will give parents a say as to whether their children are assigned sexually explicit materials in schools. Monday’s vote sends the bill, which narrowly passed the Senate earlier this month, to Gov. Glenn Youngkin for a signature. Youngkin listed the legislation as […]

House panel kills push to let localities fund their own school construction costs through sales tax

By: - February 25, 2022

A Republican-led House panel voted Friday to kill legislation that would have allowed localities to raise local sales taxes in order to fund school construction costs. The party-line vote came as a blow to many cities and counties across Virginia, as well as a growing — and bipartisan — contingent of legislators focused on school […]

Youngkin administration ends equity initiatives at the Virginia Department of Education

By: - February 25, 2022

In a push to end “divisive concepts” in Virginia education, Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s administration is ending virtually all equity initiatives launched by the state’s Department of Education prior to the governor’s inauguration last month. The policy changes, announced in an interim report from the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow, hew closely to directives […]

House and Senate lay out dueling visions for education funding in Virginia

By: - February 24, 2022

Budget squabbles between the House and Senate are a normal part of business in the Virginia legislature. But debate broke out quickly this year after both chambers released their spending plans for K-12 education, which lay out competing visions on school construction, teacher pay and new “innovation” schools championed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin. Virginia Democrats […]

Senate votes to bring back misdemeanor reporting requirements for school principals

By: - February 21, 2022

Democrats in the Virginia Senate joined with Republicans on Monday to roll back a 2020 law making it optional for principals and superintendents to report many misdemeanor-level offenses to law enforcement. The legislation, sponsored by Del. Scott Wyatt, R-Hanover, will once again require notification in the case of many offenses committed on school property, including possession of […]

Legislation aims to protect residents evicted from assisted living facilities

By: - February 21, 2022

As Virginia’s long-term care ombudsman, an advocate for patients in senior living centers, Joani Latimer has witnessed what happens when residents of assisted living facilities are forced to leave. In some cases, patients have ended up in homeless shelters. Latimer still remembers one resident who was discharged to his local emergency room with a “will […]

After nominee standoff, Youngkin is poised to appoint a majority on the Virginia Board of Education

By: - February 15, 2022

A standoff over gubernatorial appointments will allow Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin to appoint a majority of members on the state’s Board of Education far sooner than expected. After Senate Democrats refused to confirm Andrew Wheeler, Youngkin’s controversial cabinet pick for secretary of natural and historic resources, the Republican-led House of Delegates initially refused to take […]

Virginia House passes legislation aimed at banning ‘divisive’ concepts in public schools

By: - February 15, 2022

In a largely party-line vote, Virginia’s Republican-controlled House of Delegates passed legislation Tuesday that would ban educators from teaching concepts framed as “divisive” by many Republican leaders. The bill, sponsored by Del. Dave LaRock, R-Loudoun, wasn’t officially endorsed by Gov. Glenn Youngin. But its language mirrors the text of other administration-backed legislation and closely resembles […]

Virginia’s COVID-19 case rates are plummeting. But experts still can’t predict what’s next.

By: - February 15, 2022

As Virginia lawmakers debated a bill that would effectively end mask mandates in schools — legislation that Gov. Glenn Youngkin could sign and implement by the end of the week— even some Democrats seemed indifferent to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “I am convinced that if we defeat this legislation, we will be back here next […]